Ingrown toenail

Alternative Names

Onychocryptosis; Unguis incarnatus; Nail avlusion; Matrix excision

Definition of Ingrown toenail

An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the nail grows down and into the skin of the toe. There may be pain, redness, and swelling around the nail.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

An ingrown toenail can result from a number of things, but poorly fitting shoes and toenails that are not trimmed properly are the most common causes. The skin along the edge of a toenail may become red and infected. The great toe is usually affected, but any toenail can become ingrown.

Signs and tests

An examination of the foot will show the following:

Treatment

If you have diabetes, nerve damage in the leg or foot, poor blood circulation to your foot, or an infection around the nail, go to the doctor right away. Do NOT try to treat this problem at home.

Expectations (prognosis)

Treatment will generally control the infection and relieve pain. However, the condition is likely to return if measures to prevent it are not taken. Good foot care is important to prevent recurrence.

Review

Linda Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 10/12/2009

Ingrown toenail

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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